The Rev. Tobias S. Haller: St. James of Jerusalem, who is generally accounted as the author of the Letter of James, tipped the balance of the Council of Jerusalem’s vote on the circumcision question; Gentiles should not be required to undergo it.

There are many Jameses in the New Testament, and technical questions about what the word “brother” means, but no questions about the leadership of James the Just, Bishop of Jerusalem. A late convert himself, he brought so many people to Christ that the religious authorities of the city begged him to reverse the tide. They took him to the pinnacle of the Temple, demanding that he denounce all belief in Jesus as Messiah. But he preached his brother instead, so the rabbis flung him off the roof to his death.

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